Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A New Wind Blowing? Breaking the Silence and UPZ at a Hillel near you

Much has been written recently in the Jewish blogosphere and the American Jewish press about "Shovrim Shtikah" ("Breaking the Silence"), the group of IDF veterans (many of whom are combat officers), whose purpose is to raise people’s awareness about IDF behavior in the West Bank. (Check out their website and read the testimonies, some of which are available in English. There are many more that have not been put up on the web. Donations are welcome for this avodat kodesh/holy project) Several soldiers toured the US in the fall and spoke a variety of venues, mostly Jewish. The trip was organized by the group in Israel, with the help of activists across the US. The Union for Progessive Zionism also got involved with cosponsoring the group at a Hillels. Sorry, Lebel Fein, the UPZ did not bring them to the US – but they were helpful; Tammy Shapiro, head of the UPZ, gets a big yasher koah/congratulation for her work. But the biggest one goes to Judith Kolokoff. The only relatively balanced piece on the group was by Michelle Chabin in the New York Jewish Week. If you missed the link to that article, that may be because there is none; the Jewish Week apparently posted it on their website -- it turns up in Google --and then took it down. Too hat to handle, Gary? It appeared in the January 19, 2007 issue. The worst piece about the American tour, also not available on the web, was in the Israeli tabloid "Yediot Aharonot" under the headline, "Palestinian Groups Fund Draft Resisters." For the record, combat officers are not draft resisters -- and Palestinian groups do not fund BTS. The worst editorial, that of Jonathan Tobin, will be the subject of my next post, kicking off the series, "Captive Children", or as they say in Hebrew, "Tinokot she-Nishbu". This is the way we orthodox Jews label poor, benighted Jews who were brought up with the wrong ideology, that is, when we don't want to consider them to be heretics and deserving death! Stay tuned.

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